by Jill St. John
Make hay while the sun shines.
The early bird gets the worm.
Any job worth doing
is a job worth doing right.
I’m a farm girl, and my family had more sayings like that than ants at a picnic. The truths of those sayings continue to replay in my mind and shape my behavior. We raised sheep and grew alfalfa, wheat, corn, oats, barley, and soybeans. I learned to work hard and to love the outdoors. Because farming is an outdoor enterprise, weather plays a huge role in it. But even if the weather kept us out of the field, we were busy in the waiting. We would be in the barns and shops, making repairs and preparations for when we could go out into the field.
On our family farm, my dad grew alfalfa that made hay for the sheep. As he waited for the alfalfa to grow, he was preparing all of the equipment to be ready for the harvest.
It reminds me of James 5:7: "Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains." (NIV, emphasis added)
See how the farmer waits. I know firsthand how farmers wait. They wait for the frost of winter to give way to the warmth of spring. They wait for the ground to be pliable enough to sow the seed. They wait for the seed to germinate, sprout, root, and grow, developing the crop to be harvested. In the waiting, they are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They are not biding the time for the corn to be waist-high by the 4th of July. To see how a farmer waits is to see how a farmer is always working. Even in the waiting, they are always tending what they are growing and preparing for the harvest. They know the crop is growing, even if it does not look like it. They know the tractors and equipment will need to be ready to go. Farmers are active in the waiting.
In the field of ministry, we are often in the position of waiting and can take cues from this passage. Waiting like a farmer might be identifying an incredible young woman of God who needs time to develop and mature before she is ready for greater responsibility. Instead of waiting for her to mature and be ready, I can invite her to join me in what I am doing for Jesus. I do not have it all figured out, but over my years in ministry, God has taught me things that might be helpful to pass on to her; e.g., lessons I’ve learned the hard way, as well as books and podcasts that I find helpful for perspective and spiritual development.
Waiting like a farmer might be waiting for a loved one to surrender to Jesus. Instead of being frustrated and exasperated in waiting for them to come to Jesus, I can implement a strategic prayer plan. I pray in faith, trusting that God is doing a work even if I cannot see it. Here is a simple daily rhythm I use in praying for those I am waiting to come to Jesus:
For those I’m waiting to come to Jesus
Protection & Softness to God
TUESDAY: Timing of God
Their job & the Work of God
THURSDAY: Thirst for Jesus
That the Lord will put Godly people in their lives
SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Sometime Soon
They will be in church worshiping God
Let’s make the most of the time God gives us each day, even when we are in a waiting season. "So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up or quit." (Galatians 6:9 The Message)
If my Dad had waited for the crops to be perfectly ripe before he fired up the tractor, he would not have been ready for the harvest. If he had waited to prepare the harvest equipment, he would have been late for the harvest and maybe missed it altogether.
See how the farmer waits; he is actively preparing for the harvest. May the Lord help us work while we are in the waiting, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be ready for a great harvest!
Jill St. John, once a high school English teacher, is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God. She serves as Co-Pastor alongside her husband, Jason. For the last 28 years, they have served at Evangel Church in Kansas City: 6 years as youth pastors, 22 years as lead pastors. Jill has a passion for Jesus and a zeal for teaching God’s Word – helping others walk in God’s love and purpose. As a 4-time cancer survivor, she knows the goodness of God through the highs and lows of life and ministry. Jill is an authentic, enthusiastic messenger of God’s joy and hope. Teaching, cooking, gardening, laughing and hanging out with friends, her husband and two young adult kids and kids-in-law are the delights of her life!
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